James Merritt Papers

MC 1810

Special Collections Department
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Andrew Donovan and Krista Jones, 2011.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Merritt, James, 1907 - 1990
Title
James Merritt Papers
Inclusive Dates
1810-2006
Identification
MC 1810
Extent
6 linear feet (7 boxes)
Language
Materials are in English.
Repository
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply

No Interlibrary Loans

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

Acquisition Information

The James Merritt Collection was donated to the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on June 7, 2001 by Michael Jones, President of the Desha County Historical Society.

Processing Information

Processed by Andrew Donovan; completed in July 2011.

Preferred Form of Citation

James Merritt Papers (MC 1810), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville

See Special Collections Citations Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

Jim Merritt was born on November 21, 1907 in Kelso, Desha County, Arkansas to James B. Merritt Sr. and Leanna White Merritt. His father died of a flu epidemic in 1918. He attended Kelso public schools in McGehee, Desha County, Arkansas and graduated from McGehee High School in 1927, valedictorian of his class. Merritt later graduated from Cumberland University School of Law in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1928 and passed the Arkansas Bar examination that same year. He returned to McGehee in 1928 to practice law and served several terms as city attorney. During his second term as city attorney, Merritt met Mildred Dishough, an elementary school teacher from McGehee, and in 1934 the two married. In 1935, Merritt established a law office in McGehee where he practiced law until 1942, when he joined the Air Force at the beginning of World War II. He served three and a half years with the 8th Air Force as a turret gunner and radio operator. He was stationed in England, France, and Africa.

In 1945, Jim returned to McGehee and continued his law practice. When Judge E.G. Hammock retired as Chancellor of Drew, Desha, Ashley, Bradley, and Chicot counties, Merritt was asked to finish the term and was reelected to the position in 1954, making him the first chancellor elected from Desha County. He served that position until 1971. In addition to being chancellor, Merritt also served as Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee and President of the State Judicial Council.

After a heart attack in 1971, Merritt retired from law and focused his attention on his real interest: the history of Desha County. He studied the topic extensively and published his research in the yearly publications for the Desha County Historical Society, of which he was the president. Merritt died in 1990. He was a member of many organizations and clubs including the American Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association, Southeast Arkansas Legal Institute, the Arkansas Judicial Council, McGehee Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Arkansas Consistory, the Sahara Shrine Temple in Pine Bluff, and the Southeast Arkansas Shrine Club. He had been a member of the First Methodist Church since 1928 and taught Sunday school from 1946 to 1990.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, research materials, newspapers, photographs, and audio cassettes.

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by topic.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

Box 1

Box 1 Folder 1

Jim Merritt Biographical Information, 1907 - 1990

Box 1 Folder 2

Jim Merritt Correspondence, 1973 - 1976

Box 1 Folder 3

Jim Merritt Correspondence, 1977 - 1978

Box 1 Folder 4

Jim Merritt Correspondence, 1983 - 1987

Box 1 Folder 5

George Kelley Correspondence, 1941 - 1976

Box 1 Folder 6

George Kelley Correspondence, 1977 - 1979

Box 1 Folder 7

Mildred Merritt Correspondence, 1991 - 1993

Box 1 Folder 8

Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1975 - 2006

Box 1 Folder 9

Speeches by Jim Merritt, n.d.

Box 1 Folder 10

Desha County History Research Notes, Banking

Box 1 Folder 11

Desha County History Research Notes, Cemeteries

Box 1 Folder 12

Desha County History Research Notes, Cemeteries

Box 1 Folder 13

Desha County History Research Notes, Civil War

Box 1 Folder 14

Desha County History Research Notes, County Finances

Box 1 Folder 15

Desha County History Research Notes, County Government

Box 1 Folder 16

Desha County History Research Notes, County Offices

Box 1 Folder 17

Desha County History Research Notes, County Records

Box 1 Folder 18

Desha County History Research Notes, County Statistics

Box 1 Folder 19

Desha County History Research Notes, Drainage Districts

Box 1 Folder 20

Desha County History Research Notes, Economics

Box 1 Folder 21

Desha County History Research Notes, Floods

Box 1 Folder 22

Desha County History Research Notes, Formation of County/Origin of Name

Box 1 Folder 23

Desha County History Research Notes, Indians

Box 1 Folder 24

Desha County History Research Notes, Kelso, Desha County, Arkansas

Box 1 Folder 25

Desha County History Research Notes, Levees

Box 1 Folder 26

Desha County History Research Notes, Levees

Box 1 Folder 27

Desha County History Research Notes, McGehee Bank

Box 1 Folder 28

Desha County History Research Notes, Miscellaneous People

Box 1 Folder 29

Desha County History Research Notes, Montgomery Point

Box 1 Folder 30

Desha County History Research Notes, Municipalities

Box 1 Folder 31

Desha County History Research Notes, Newspapers

Box 1 Folder 32

Desha County History Research Notes, Port of Arkansas City

Box 2 Folder 1

Desha County History Research Notes, Post Offices

Box 2 Folder 2

Desha County History Research Notes, "Recollection of Big Island"

Box 2 Folder 3

Desha County History Research Notes, Reconstruction

Box 2 Folder 4

Desha County History Research Notes, Red Fork

Box 2 Folder 5

Desha County History Research Notes, Religion

Box 2 Folder 6

Desha County History Research Notes, Roads

Box 2 Folder 7

Desha County History Research Notes, Schools

Box 2 Folder 8

Desha County History Research Notes, Special Interest

Box 2 Folder 9

Desha County History Research Notes, State Officers

Box 2 Folder 10

Desha County History Research Notes, Surveys

Box 2 Folder 11

Desha County History Research Notes, Townships

Box 2 Folder 12

Desha County History Research Notes, Wildlife, Lakes, and Forests

Box 2 Folder 13

Desha County History Research Notes, Yancopin, Desha County, Arkansas

Box 2 Folder 14

Desha County History Research Notes, "Yes There is a Desha County"

Box 2 Folder 15

Desha County History Research Notes, "Yes There is a Desha County"

Box 2 Folder 16

Desha County History Research Notes, "Yes There is a Desha County"

Box 2 Folder 17

Desha County History Research Notes, "Yes There is a Desha County"

Box 2 Folder 18

Desha County History Research Notes, "Yes There is a Desha County"

Box 2 Folder 19

Desha County History Research Notes, Miscellaneous Records, 1817-1936

Box 2 Folder 20

Desha County 1927 Flood Materials

Box 2 Folder 21

Desha County Agricultural and Engineering Projects

Box 2 Folder 22

Arkansas City, Desha County, Arkansas Materials

Box 2 Folder 23

Benjamin Desha Materials

Box 2 Folder 24

Desha County Churches Materials

Box 2 Folder 25

Desha County Civil War Materials

Box 2 Folder 26

Early Desha County History Materials

Box 2 Folder 27

Desha County Genealogy Materials

Box 2 Folder 28

Desha County Historical Buildings and Landmarks Materials

Box 3 Folder 1

Desha County Indians Materials

Box 3 Folder 2

Liberia City, Desha County, Arkansas Materials

Box 3 Folder 3

Desha County Maps

Box 3 Folder 4

Napoleon, Desha County, Arkansas Materials

Box 3 Folder 5

Desha County Notable People

Box 3 Folder 6

Desha County Notable People

Box 3 Folder 7

Desha County Personal Anecdotes of Residents

Box 3 Folder 8

Desha County WWI and WWII Memorials and Accounts of Residents

Box 3 Folder 9

Watson, Desha County, Arkansas Materials

Box 3 Folder 10

Yancopin, Desha County, Arkansas Materials

Box 3 Folder 11

Desha County General Notes

Box 3 Folder 12

Desha County Historical Society, Correspondence, 1973-1994

Box 3 Folder 13

Desha County Historical Society, Meeting Minutes, 1968-1974

Box 3 Folder 14

Desha County Historical Society, Meeting Minutes, 1975-1977

Box 3 Folder 15

Desha County Historical Society, Meeting Minutes, 1978-1982

Box 3 Folder 16

Desha County Historical Society, Meeting Minutes, 1983-1989

Box 3 Folder 17

Desha County Historical Society Memberships, 1991-1993

Box 3 Folder 18

Desha County Historical Society, Tax Exemption Records, 1973-1982

Box 3 Folder 19

Desha County Historical Society, Subject Index

Box 3 Folder 20

Desha County Historical Society, General Materials

Box 3 Folder 21

Newspaper Clippings, 1810-1940

Box 3 Folder 22

Newspaper Clippings, 1945

Box 3 Folder 23

Newspaper Clippings, 1945

Box 4 Folder 1

Newspaper Clippings, 1950-1958

Box 4 Folder 2

Newspaper Clippings, 1971-1979

Box 4 Folder 3

Newspaper Clippings, 1980-1981

Box 4 Folder 4

Newspaper Clippings, 1984

Box 4 Folder 5

Newspaper Clippings, 1985

Box 4 Folder 6

Newspaper Clippings, 1986-1987

Box 4 Folder 7

Newspaper Clippings, 1989-1994

Box 4 Folder 8

Newspaper Clippings, n.d.

Box 4 Folder 9

Photographs (Images 1-9)

Box 5 Item 1

"Old Town of Trippe" - Mrs. Trippe Bowden, Desha County Historical Society, February 16, 1970 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 2

"Ghost Towns: Red Fork" - Watson Meeting, Desha County Historical Society, March 16, 1970 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 3

"Jefferson/Aubrey K. Francois," Desha County Historical Society, April 20, 1970/June 2, 1970 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 5

"Post Offices of Desha County," Desha County Historical Society, December 11, 1970 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 6

"Constitution," Desha County Historical Society, 1970 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 7

"Tillar-Clayton Township" - Hutch Landfair, Desha County Historical Society, January 11, 1971 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 8

"Fort Desha/Home Demonstration Club," Desha County Historical Society, March 8, 1971 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 9

"Railroads in Desha County," Desha County Historical Society, September 13, 1971 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 10

"Sunday School Lesson" - Jim Merritt, Desha County Historical Society, January 16, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 11

"Fort Desha/Early Peddlers and Merchants," Desha County Historical Society, October 4, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 12

"Lucha Landing" - Clara White Harris, Desha County Historical Society, February 14, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 13

"John Ferguson," Desha County Historical Society, April 10, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 14

"100 Broadcast of Sunday School Lesson," Desha County Historical Society, September 10, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 15

"Desota Plantation" - Dorothy Moore, Desha County Historical Society, September 10, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 16

"Sunday School Lesson" - Jim Merritt, Desha County Historical Society, September 10, 1972 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 17

"Noel Newton Interview," Desha County Historical Society, January 3, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 18

"Virgil Biggs," Desha County Historical Society, February 12, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 19

“Alma Harding Kendall,” Desha County Historical Society, May 14, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 20

“Clayton Family” – Earl Mays, Desha County Historical Society, June, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 21

"Grover Jones," Desha County Historical Society, September 10, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 22

"Hutch Landfair on Bill Preston," Desha County Historical Society, October 8, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 5 Item 23

"Big Island," Desha County Historical Society, October 23, 1973 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 1

"Arkansas Courthouse, 1879-1880," Desha County Historical Society, March 20, 1974 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 2

"Desha County Courthouse" - Desha County Historical Society, April 8, 1974 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 3

"Tourist Attractions" - C.C. Stuart, Desha County Historical Society, June 10, 1974 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 4

"Bicentennial - Arkansas City," Desha County Historical Society, September 5, 1975 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 5

"Mildred Merritt Trying Out New Recorder," Desha County Historical Society, November, 1976 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 6

"Old Maps" - Giggs and Ferguson, Desha County Historical Society, November 14, 1977 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 7

"Old Songs/Tribute to Maye Naugher," Desha County Historical Society, February 1, 1990 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 8

"Grover Jones Funeral Service - Life Story and WWII Experiences," Desha County Historical Society, June 7, 1991 (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 9

"Banks in McGehee," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 10

"Bill Preston," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 11

"Clippings 5 and 6: Senator Berry Banquet/Preston Election," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 12

"Clippings 9 and 10: Gunboat Nashville/Letter to Mrs. Pindall," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 13

"Clippings 11 and 12: Steamboat on Silver Lake/State Labor Commission," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 14

"Constitution," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 15

"Dumas" - Mr. C.W. Meador, Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 16

"Jewish Songs," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 17

"Jim Talking to Percy," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 18

"Mrs. Eastham of Dumas/Mrs. Stroud's Paper," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 19

"Scrapbook: X.O. Pindall/Party at Douglass," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 20

"Scrapbook" Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 21

"South McGehee Baptist Church/Jonah Isn't Just a Whale Story" Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 6 Item 22

"X.O. Pindall Speaks," Desha County Historical Society, n.d. (Cassette)

Box 7 Item 1

University of Arkansas Diploma for Audie Jane Maguire (Oversize), June 9, 1909

Box 7 Item 2

United States Supreme Court Certificate of Licensure for Jim Merritt (Oversize), February 4, 1952

END OF COLLECTION

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